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Three sentenced to death for fatal gang-rape Indian editor claims rape charge ‘political vendetta’

 NEW DELHI, Feb 19, (AFP): An Indian court on Wednesday sentenced three men to death for abducting and raping a 19- year-old woman whose mutilated body was found days later, reports said. The court in New Delhi said the three men, all aged in their 20s, should receive the harshest sentence for the 2012 attack because their crimes fell into the “rarest of rare” category under Indian law. “Death to all three,” presiding judge Virender Bhat was quoted by the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency as saying.

The father of the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, welcomed the judgement, saying he has been so consumed with fighting for justice for his daughter that he has been unable to hold down a job. “I fought a lone battle for two years, and it has paid off,” the father, 45, who was in court to hear the sentences, told AFP.

The government toughened laws on sexual violence against women in March last year, following outrage at the fatal gang-rape of a student on a Delhi bus in December 2012. Four adults were sentenced to death last year over that attack, a crime that sparked seething anger about the treatment of women in India. The new laws allow for the death penalty in cases where a rape victim dies from the attack or is left in a vegetative state. The woman, who worked as an assistant with a private company in the megacity of Gurgaon on Delhi’s outskirts, was dragged into a car near her home in February 2012 before being gang-raped, PTI said. An attorney in the case told the court that acid had been poured into the eyes of the victim and a broken liquor bottle had been forced into her private parts, the news agency reported.

The body of the woman, who was working while pursuing her undergraduate studies, was found rotting in a village field in Haryana state, miles away from the national capital, three days later. Meanwhile, a leading Indian editor charged with raping a colleague accused authorities in Goa state on Tuesday of concealing evidence of his innocence because of a “political vendetta” against him. Tarun Tejpal, the founder and editor of top investigative magazine Tehelka, has been in custody since his arrest in late November over the alleged incident in a hotel lift in the southern holiday state — a case that has scandalised the Indian media.

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